MLB’s 2023 international signing period began on January 15 and runs through December 15. The bulk of activity begins immediately, as most of these deals for literal kids are agreed to well beforehand while everyone looks the other way.
The Dodgers on January 15 signed a pair of ranked players from the Dominican Republic. Shortstop Joendry Vargas was ranked third among international prospects by MLB Pipeline and rated 16th overall by Baseball America. Los Angeles also signed power-hitting outfielder Arnaldo Lantigua, who was ranked No. 23 by MLB Pipeline.
Vargas signed for a reported $2.08-million bonus, per Antonio Puesán, which is slightly over half of the Dodgers entire international bonus pool of $4,144,000. Los Angeles is tied for the smallest bonus pool among major league teams, thanks in part to paying the competitive balance tax in 2021 then signing qualifying-offer free agent Freddie Freeman in 2022, which lopped $1 million from the Dodgers’ international pool.
All signing bonuses over $10,000 count against the bonus pool.
The Dodgers on Sunday night announced the signing of 13 international amateur free agents — six from the Dominican Republic, including Vargas and Lantigua, and seven players from Venezuela.
LA’s initial baker’s dozen of signings include six pitchers, five shortstops, one outfielder, and one catcher. The backstop, Eduardo Quintero, is from Venezuela, following in the footsteps of recent Venezuelan catchers who were top Dodgers prospects, including Keibert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya.
The Dodgers have signed at least one Venezuelan catcher in each of the last nine international signing periods, dating back to 2014. Ruiz was traded to Washington in July 2021 in the deal for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, but twelve other Venezuelan catchers signed an amateur by the Dodgers remained in the system last year, with Cartaya (2018 signee), Yeiner Fernandez (2019), and Marco Hernandez (2015) accounting for 144 games behind the plate in both Class-A levels combined.
Dodgers 2023 international free agent signings
|Joendry Vargas||SS||Dominican Republic||$2,080,000|
|Arnaldo Lantigua||OF||Dominican Republic||$700,000|
|Daniel Mielcarek||SS||Dominican Republic||$400,000|
|Erick Batista||RHP||Dominican Republic|
|Anderson Jerez||RHP||Dominican Republic|
|Elias Medina||SS||Dominican Republic|
|Total known bonuses||$3,180,000|